Daytrip Destination: Swan Island (Kennebec River), Maine

 

Swan Island, Photo by Maine.Gov
Swan Island, Photo by Maine.Gov

Looking for a unique daytrip or overnight experience this summer? Plan a trip to Swan Island on the Kennebec River, some 20 minutes south of Augusta and 10 miles north of Bath, Maine.

SI_TopoThe island, part of the Steve Powell Wildlife Management Area, features large forested areas dotted with open fields and small wetlands. Nature trails wind through the island, and mountain biking can be enjoyed on the central road. Several historic homesteads, as well as an old cemetery, serve as points of interest.

Kayaking or canoeing is the best way to reach the island and its state-run campground, on the eastern side. Boaters can camp overnight, but reservations are required. Planning your visit is easy, however. Start by clicking here. Note that the landing dock on the northwest tip of the island can only be used to pick up or drop off passengers and gear.

Photo from Maine.gov
Bald eagles nest on Swan Island. Photo from Maine.gov

Canoes and kayaks can be pulled up on shore, closer to the campground. Larger vessels must anchor offshore, which can be tricky given the tidal currents. The closest launch site is the town landing in Richmond, but launch facilities can also be found in Bowdoinham and Bath.

Each of the 10 campsites on Swan Island has a fireplace next to a 3-sided lean-to, which sleeps up to 6 people. The lean-tos are open to the air, so many visitors choose to pitch a tent in the vicinity of their shelter. Water and restroom facilities for campers are also available at the campground. Campsites are spread out for privacy and sit at the edge of a grassy field overlooking Little Swan Island and the Kennebec River.

 

Day Use

3 and under: Free
4 and older: $8 per person

 

Overnight

3 and under: Free
4 and older: $14 per person

 

Self-Access Season Pass

Individual: $40
Family: $75

Swan Island, Little Swan Island and surrounding tidal flats are part of the Steve Powell Wildlife Management Area. It is home to 3 nesting pairs of bald eagles, plus hawks, wading birds, warblers and hundreds of other bird species that inhabit the estuarine waters and interior woodlands and fields. The Kennebec also offers excellent smallmouth bass and striped bass fishing, and sturgeon can often be seen leaping clear of the surface.

Swan-Island-map

 

 

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